Published on January 22nd, 2018 | by Vieri Capretta0
Winners and Losers: PSG problems and Napoli’s record year
Napoli keep on keeping on at the top of the Serie A table, while PSG find a road block in the form of the lions of Lyon in Ligue Un
The clash in the Partenopei which produced a narrow victory against Atalanta used to be the kind of match where Napoli would lose points. It wasn’t the case this time, as a first goal for Dries Mertens in nine games was the difference at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, with Napoli putting together a total of 54 points from 21 games, their best ever tally at this point in the season.
Juventus, who play on Monday, will lag behind for another round after Napoli’s victory against an Atalanta side that had been their biggest problem in recent years, losing twice to them last season and being knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Atalanta this year.
A banging 7-1 victory for Los Blancos, something we hadn’t seen in a while. Three braces, the return of the BBC, and Deportivo La Coruna blown away. Of course, a La Liga title challenge remains almost impossible, but on a day when PSG showed some weaknesses, Zinedine Zidane got the response he needed from his players and can now plan the Champions League Round of 16 encounter with greater optimism.
That Memphis Depay goal to send the stadium wild is one to remember. Beating Paris Saint-Germain this season will be tough for anyone, and to do so deservingly…even more difficult. Lyon wanted it more, showed it on the pitch for 90 minutes, and came up with two beauties in the finishes from Nabil Fekir and Depay to send their fans to heaven and Paris to hell for one night.
A mediocre 1-1 draw and any idea of fighting for the title becomes an even bigger illusion. Just like an early Antoine Griezmann goal was an illusion against Girona. At the Wanda Metropolitano, the Colchoneros confirmed their ongoing problems with scoring goals, conceding in the second half to go 11 points behind Barcelona at the top of the table.
No Neymar, no party. Any team could suffer without the Brazilian star, but if your alternatives are Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler you have little excuses not to turn up. Yet, Unai Emery’s team suffered for the entire game against Lyon, conceding an early and a late goal to suffer their second defeat of the season, and showing weaknesses, especially in terms of mentality, that could be exposed by Real Madrid in the Champions League. Generally, the team seems amazing when all goes well, but can fall into trouble when matters start to go wrong.
On paper, it was a tough game for Spurs, ending with a tough result. The 1-1 draw against Southampton exposed all the negatives of a team that can always rely on Harry Kane – now top of the Golden Show table – but has some clear problems at the back. Davinson Sanchez was heavily exposed, even conceding the own goal that broke the deadlock, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men were unable to create enough to really build for a winning goal, to lose touch with the top four.